Willie Greenlaw was invited to join the Portland High football team on Oct. 17 for their weekly Thursday night team dinner at the Portland Eagles Club at the request of the team members who wanted to meet the legendary running back.

Greenlaw starred in football at Portland High in 1950,’51, and ’52. He went on to the University of Nebraska and played football for four years. In 1960, Willie joined the semi-pro Portland Sea Hawks football team, where he was an outstanding ball carrier for five years.

Willie spoke briefly to the PHS team.He urged them to go on to college and play college football. He congratulated them on their outstanding season this year, and told the backs to always thank their linemen who do not get enough credit. He answered the players’ questions with grace and dignity. He gave them a lesson in history. He told them that when his University of Nebraska team traveled to Southern states in the late 1950s for football games, his African-American teammates were not allowed to stay at the same hotel or eat their meals at the same table with their white teammates. He was opposed to those discriminatory laws and felt really bad for the way some members of his team were treated.

I played against Willie in high school as a center at Deering High School. I played with him as the Portland Sea Hawks center in 1960, ’61, and ’63. In my opinion, Willie Greenlaw is the best football player in the state of Maine in my lifetime.

Willie and six others will be the inaugural inductees at the 2013 PHS Football Hall of Fame banquet at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 27 at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland.

It will be a proud moment for Portland High School football.

Gerald M. Davis

PHS Football Hall of Fame Committee

PHS retired history teacher (37 years)

Former PHS assistant football coach

Falmouth

More objectivity needed in discussion of insurance

M.D. Harmon’s column titled “Government steals from the young to give to the elderly” (Oct.25) begs for a response. Purchasing a product from an insurance company is not theft even if you are young and think yourself invincible. Insurance in all cases requires the more fortunate paying for the misfortunes of other subscribers. Would Mr. Harmon please submit an explanation of how health insurance is any different from life, auto or homeowner’s insurance? Would anyone describe auto insurance claims as thievery? Mr. Harmon’s assertion of “stealing” is absurd on its face and only serves to emotionalize yet another issue and deceive an already too divided citizenry. A person who claims to be a journalist (retired) should turn off the radio, attempt to be objective and report the truth.

John Graham

Woolwich

Does LePage place retirees in his ‘47 percent’ group?

Gov. LePage has complained that 47 percent of able-bodied Mainers do not work but he has yet to come up with documentation for this figure. I would point out that Maine is second only to Florida as a state favored for retirement. I am wondering if Maine’s retirees are counted among the unemployed. Most of us are still able-bodied and many contribute countless volunteer hours to our communities and those in need even though we are no longer considered employed.

Diane Schetky, M.D.

Topsham

Deluge of complaints on Obamacare premature

I was dismayed to read Kathleen Parker’s column in the Oct. 29 issue of the Portland Press Herald,

While it is true that there have been many problems with the implementation of “Obamacare,” it has been less than a month since the effort began, and the deluge of complaints and finger-pointing seem premature.

Our current health care system is not working. We have the most expensive health care in the First World countries, the largest number of uninsured, and our results as measured by infant mortality and longevity are mediocre. It would be far more productive for our country and its citizens if we worked to implement this health care program, planning to make improvements as problems arise. To not do so is mean when millions of our fellow Americans are un- or underinsured and remain one illness away from bankruptcy.

Nancy D. Barber, M.D. (ret.)

Bath

Society relies on teachers’ expertise and intuition

When public school teachers wonder, “Why am I doing (or redoing) this? It’s not what I believe is best for my kids,” oftentimes, a politician or corporation has stepped into the classroom and is trying to do her job. Keep in mind, most politicians and CEOs have never spent a single day in a classroom. The teaching profession is under attack in the name of corporate profits and political elections. I have observed teachers increasingly pressured to make decisions about what and how to teach based on the recommendations of curriculum, textbook and assessment publishing companies. All in the name of corporate profits and ever higher and higher standardized test scores, deemed significant by politicians seeking election wins.

Teachers, we need your professional judgment, creativity and passion for student growth (not their ability to meet standards or take standardized tests) to be at the heart of your decision-making. Our society relies on your expertise and intuition to make decisions about what’s best for students’ personal and academic growth. No small task! Maintain your professional autonomy; keep politicians and corporations out of your classroom.

I hope that when faced with new standards, curricula and testing requirements, you will ask questions and share your professional opinion. I believe there is still an important place for creativity (for students and teachers) in your classroom.

Our students’ time with you is precious – too important to be influenced by the uninformed.

Jean Rank

Portland